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(Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)
(Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail)

David Lee's Thai-style Brussels sprouts Add to ...

The Thai vinaigrette comprises the five essential tastes – sweet from sugar, salty from fish sauce, sour from lime juice, spicy from Thai chili and some bitterness from the garlic – that showcase this wonderful local vegetable.

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  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 5 minutes
  • Ready time: 20 minutes
  • Servings: 4

Brussels sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts

½ cup mint

Olive oil

Thai vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 red Thai chili, chopped

3 coriander stems, chopped into 2-inch pieces

1 pinch kosher salt

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons fish sauce

3 tablespoons lime juice

Sambal gastrique

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 tablespoons sambal oelek

Method

To prepare the sprouts, remove stems and cut sprouts in half. Boil in salted water for 3 minutes, remove and lay out flat to cool.

For the Thai vinaigrette, grind the garlic, Thai chili, coriander stems and salt with a mortar and pestle until they form a smooth paste. Add the sugar and grind until dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice.

For the sambal gastrique, a spicy thickener, mix the sugar, vinegar and sambal oelek until the sugar has dissolved.

Set a sauté pan on high heat and cover the bottom with olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the sprouts in one layer. Cook them for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mint and sauté briefly.

Add the sambal gastrique and remove from the heat.

Mix in the Thai vinaigrette.

Chef David Lee is co-owner of Nota Bene in Toronto

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this recipe incorrectly listed the ingredients.

Suggested Wine Pairings

This year, I carefully tended a patch of Brussels sprouts for half of the summer, gasping with glee at each life stage, from sprouting seeds and an explosion of wide, floppy leaves to the rise of vertical stalks on which the verdant jewels were supposed to set. It was like an Apollo rocket launch in slow motion. But my devotion was thwarted by interlopers - bugs. Ironically, I tried to beat back the invasion by sprinkling the plants with cayenne pepper, a neighbour's advice. No luck. Thus, this spicy dish brings back some bitter Brussels memories. I may have to head to dinner at Nota Bene to get my fix instead. If you want, drink-wise, to stick with the local-produce theme, consider a dry or off-dry domestic riesling. New Zealand sauvignon blanc could work, too. - Beppi Crosariol

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